7 great questions to ask in an interview

7 of the best questions you can ask a candidate in an interview You’re looking to fill a vacancy and kicking off a round of interviews to find someone with the skills and experience you need. It sounds easy, but filling the gap in your team can take time (and be expensive to boot). That’s…

7 of the best questions you can ask a candidate in an interview

You’re looking to fill a vacancy and kicking off a round of interviews to find someone with the skills and experience you need. It sounds easy, but filling the gap in your team can take time (and be expensive to boot).

That’s where asking the right questions comes in.

How you ask and frame a question to a candidate is a skill – and it can expedite the hiring process and determine who you should take to the next stage (or even hire). Here are the top 7 questions you’ll want to put on your interview list, and why they work.

Question 1: What do you know about us and why do you want to work here?

An upfront, on-the-spot question that tells you whether the person sitting across from you is truly sincere about wanting to work for your company. The ideal candidate will have done a little legwork to find out what your company does, who it services, the type of clients it has and where they might slot in. (If they haven’t, that’s a red flag!) You’ll also glean from this question whether the candidate would work well with the team and in the company culture overall.

Question 2: Where do you see yourself in five years?

Staff retention is a tricky tightrope for employers right now, particularly if The Great Resignation starts impacting businesses on our shores in the coming year. So this question can be useful in helping you determine two things: firstly, is the candidate looking for longevity in a role (in other words, are they likely to stick around) and secondly, how ambitious are they? If the candidate seems proactive about reaching their goals and feels there are opportunities in the company to advance, that’s valuable to any employer.

Question 3: Tell me about a difficult situation in a previous role and how you handled it.

This is a great question to ask a candidate in an interview as it gives you a lot of insight into the person’s conflict resolution skills, and soft skills – how they communicate when dealing with people, whether they have the kind of diplomacy required to navigate a tricky situation, customer or colleague. How they describe the incident will also be telling. If they lay blame or seem a bit aggro, that’s a sign the person may not be the best person for the job.

Question 4. Have you ever disagreed with a manager’s decision? What did you do?

Also a challenging question to answer as a candidate will want to make it clear they’re not a problem to work with and don’t set out to challenge authority! But pay close attention to how they answer. If they managed to explain a better path forward, get the manager on side and change how the company proceeded, that can show great initiative, intelligence, courage and even leadership skills.

Question 5: What are your strengths and weaknesses?

It’s the question most candidates dread answering – with good reason. But an interviewee’s answers can provide valuable intel to the company and help determine if they’re a good fit for the role overall. Obviously, people will find it easier to talk about what they can do and the strengths and skills they can bring to the role. However, it’s also essential to know what a potential staff member can’t do, or what they might struggle with, and that part of the answer may determine the areas in which they might need training (and if you’re able to provide it).

Question 6: What’s the most interesting project you’ve worked on recently?

Getting to know what type of work a candidate is particularly passionate about can be difficult, but employers want staff who find their work satisfying and like coming to work every day (if that’s the case, studies show they’re easier to retain). This question gives you some insights into the tasks the person enjoys, whether those tasks align with the job spec, and how likely the candidate is to enjoy the job they’re interviewing for overall.

Question 7: Tell me more about some project outcomes you’re particularly proud of?

This is a great follow-on question to the previous one as it gives the candidate a chance to detail the results of successful projects – or the lessons they learned when things went wrong. So you might be looking for answers such as, ‘I worked on a project that received top feedback from a client and led to future bookings’ or ‘Our team missed a key deadline and learned that we needed better systems in place for the future, so we researched and implemented the following programs”.